The Commuter Challenge

2 August 2007

The August 2007 Challenge

by CC @ 13:40

Create your own Onion-style article (see if for some reason you don’t know what this means), complete with an accompanying photo, illustration, or chart of some sort. You can make it set in the past, present or future. You can make it timely or apropos of nothing. You can use a photo you take yourself, or some sort of photoshopped collage. Fill it with inside jokes if you like. But try to make it really funny.

The Results

View Ryan’s articles.

View Brian’s articles.

View Catherine’s article.


  1. This was an easy challenge for me. The Onion-style article of taking a everyday event of minor annoyance and drawing it out for several paragraphs is pretty much what most of my attempts at fiction writing produce. The inspiration for my main article came about when a couple of friends simultaneously bailed on me without notice. I channeled my irritation into the Challenge. The second article was just a spur-of-the-moment bit. I heard about the Burning Man arsonist and thought “That sounds like an Onion ‘In Brief’ article.”

    The American Voices bit at the end was originally just an excuse to make an L.-H.-Puttgrass-style reference, using an old L.-H.-Puttgrass-looking photo of myself. But ultimately Alice’s quote turned out to be the funniest part of my whole entry. (At least I think so. I don’t know what my friends think because none of them except Ryan could be bothered to read it. See, it didn’t work; I’m still irritated at them!)

    by breadbox — 15 February 2008 @ 21:27

  2. I just want to mention that I had formatted my page in Microsoft Word, and Brian had to re-do much of it to post it on the website. Brian did an admirable job (I know he spent a lot of time on it), but some of the painstaking efforts I’d spent on getting the alignment just right were lost in the process. The original articles were not designed to cut off at random points – I tried to cram as much onto one 8 1/2 by 11 page as I possibly could – but some of that was lost in the format changes. I’m still happy with how it turned out.

    It’s illegible on the page, but the Cleveland Weather section includes quotes from Beowulf and Chaucer. And if it wasn’t already obvious, St. Stephen was stoned to death by an angry mob, ELIZA is an oldschool computer therapist program, and (despite what the health section says) it is, actually, all your fault.

    by RyanF — 24 February 2008 @ 02:17

  3. Hey. I’m Dave Sherman. Onion contributor since 1997. Next time you report about my being fired, let me know first, so I can quit pre-emptively.


    by Dave Sherman — 9 October 2008 @ 18:42

  4. HA! Hey, Dave. My apologies for using your name in vain. (Ditto to Mr. Koechley, just in case he comes along, too.) You know, at first I was just going to make up some names, but it was just easier to use the ones on the website. Never thought you would ever see this.

    by breadbox — 9 October 2008 @ 18:51

  5. No problem. Never thought I’d see this, either. Good luck with the comedy writing.


    by Dave Sherman — 10 October 2008 @ 07:58